Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Place of Calm...

We had our second visit today from Cathie, one of the wonderful ministers at Plymouth Congregational Church. We shared a meal together, which began with Cathie saying a beautiful grace about our conversation being comforting and enriching to each other, then Kat left and the three of us sat down before our family room fireplace.

Cathie is one of those people who really listens to you and asks just the right questions. Her voice is so gentle and caring and I could immediately feel Jud and I calm down. We talked about our worries and feelings and Jud and I snuggled on the couch and felt so connected. We also talked about sadness and hard times in the past and how we dealt with it and realized again that when we went through these storms of life, we often felt surrounded by the love and care of others and closest to God. There is so much genuine good that happens. So many redeeming events. So much incredible caring. When we were finished, I felt so much peace. I haven't felt this peace since the diagnosis.

Cathie brought us gifts. We each got a prayer shawl, knitted by women of our church. As they knit each stitch they pray, so the prayers, in a sense are knitted  into the shawl. 

The prayer Shawl Ministry in an incredible thing. I was given another one by my sister-in-law, Joan, and
treasure it. Now I have a set! I do tend to get cold when I pray or meditate so this is a wonderful gift in many ways.

She also gave us a lovely book, Sounds of the Eternal by J. Philip Newell, which contains beautiful Celtic prayers.
The prayer for Tuesday night...

It is in sleeping that my body is refreshed
It is in letting go that my soul is revived
It is in dying that I am born anew.
Bless to me my sleeping, O God
bless to me my letting go
bless to me my dying,
that tonight I might enter your stillness
that tomorrow I might awake renewed
that in the end, I may be fully alive to you.
Tonight,Tomorrow and Always, O God
may I truly be alive to you.

I am now heading to bed with the first sense of peace and calm that I have felt in a week.
May you sleep well, too.

Journey of the Heart...

We are on a journey. Jud is by nature a calm, gentle, peaceful person. I tend toward that nature myself. He realized yesterday that he didn't want to think of this journey as one of "fighting a battle" against a "terrible enemy." I agree. The more we think of things in a peaceful manner, the calmer we are able to stay. One wonderful Buddhist friend suggested thinking of the cancer as a two year old whom you love but limit. Interesting, huh?

Yesterday was hard. We were at the University of Minnesota Pancreatic Cancer unit for five hours and talked to an oncologist and a surgeon. We saw the scans for the first time and it was a bit shocking to see this tumor which is squeezing three arteries. They both agreed that, at this time, he was not a candidate for surgery. They did feel, however, that even though his cancer was a little more serious that those that they usually have prepare for surgery, he was close enough. They talked about several types of chemotherapy and both independently suggested the milder of the two, along with radiation. In his case, less may be more. 

Tomorrow we see the oncologist at Park Nicollet, his clinic. In the next few days, he will be getting a PET scan to be sure that the cancer is not residing elsewhere in his body.

It is very likely that we will be taking off in the next few days to look at other treatment programs. At this point, I don't know where. I do know that I will take you with me on our journey. Your hope for Jud helps nourish my own.

Hope is a strange invention-Of this electric Adjunct
A patent of the Heart-Not anything is known
In unremitting action But its unique momentum
Yet never wearing out-Embellish all we own.
                                                               -Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caring Bridge access...

First of all, thank you so much for trying! Here's my best guess for some of you that are having trouble. Go to caringbridge.org. From there, I believe you might have to register, if you have not been there before.  Once you are in, you will be asked whose site you want to go to. You can then type in "Jud Reaney"

Let me know if you have more trouble. We have been registered for a friend so we are able to go right on.

Love and thanks,


We are waiting, expectantly
for the coming of the angels,
His parents,
the shepherds, the animals,
the Star, the Babe,
and the wise men, the coming
of the Christmas miracle

It is truly winter in Minnesota now. We drove to Rochester for Thanksgiving (in the snow) to spend time with the Iverson family. Iver has Multiple Melonoma and just had his second stem cell transplant. He is a wonderful example of living with cancer. We have been dear friends for a long, long time. We had set this up before Jud's diagnosis and hoped to be of support to them. Instead, they ended up being support to us! Interesting how things happen, isn't it?  We cried, we laughed, we were mad at the whole deal and we were so grateful for the time together. 

Tomorrow is a big day. We go see the oncologist and surgeon at the University of Minnesota. We heard the surgeon is incredibly knowledgable and that he knows what is happening across the country in the treatment of Pancreatic Cancer. They will review all Jud's records first-hand and tell us about his options. I will tell you honestly, we are scared. Jud has three arteries involved. He has this little tumor that is barely making him sick at this point but it is surrounding such critical places. He needs surgery for any chance of five-year survival, yet we don't know if it would be too dangerous. There are advances, including a Cyber-Knife at Stanford, which can cut more accurately. We are pinning out hopes on things like this.

So far, I will call this a journey of hope. Sometime diminishing hopes. Last week we were still hoping this was pancreatitis. Then we hoped there weren't arteries involved. Now we are hoping that the new technologies will help. Each "hope" seems as important as the last, and it keeps us going on.

We have received so much love from friends. Amidst the sadness, there is still joy and laughter. I do plan to answer those who have responded here. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I read your responses again and again. We are loving each other and trying not to bicker over what's the most important when we are stressed.We feel the presence of God with us, much as we did when we lost twin sons thirty years ago. 

It's a journey. A journey of hope in this season of Hope. Please continue to travel with us. We need you right now!

P. S. Jud also has a Caring Bridge site. He loves to get messages there and each morning, asks me if there are new ones. Please write him there, if you are so moved. Just say that you are a friend of Kat and Sue's from the blog. He is so tickled to get something from someone we know.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Searching the Darkness

Search the Darkness
Sit with your friends, don't go back to sleep.
Don't sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.
Surge like an ocean, don't scatter yourself like a storm.
Life's waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don't run from it.
Night travelers are full of light, and you are too:
don't leave this companionship.
Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don't slip into the dirt like quicksilver.
The moon appears for night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.

I returned from Silver Bella to a husband who had experienced chest pain and had not wanted to worry me. All heart exams were normal. The pain radiated to his lower left abdomen and another set of tests began. Several days later, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. There are three arteries involved in the tumor which makes it hard to operate right now. We are researching treatments all across the country, as well as locally. We are learning how to live and navigate in the dark. Most of all we are learning about the love and caring of friends. 

We would love to hear from you...LOVE!!! We need all the support we can get. We really need your prayers and good thoughts. Please also feel free to go to Jud's Caring Bridge Site and write a note.We love to hear from you there, too.

We will stay in touch.


Suz, Kat and Jud

Monday, November 22, 2010

Project Runway...A Great Class!

Project Runway was my first class, taught by my blog friend, Colette Copeland of A Bird in the Hand. I have been following her blog (and buying some of her pictures) during the last year and love her style, often thoughtful, sometimes witty, and totally appealing. In this class, we decorated three vintage dresses on a clothesline.

My intention was to do a full "outline" of a class but I would have to go on forever! This, though, is the beginning of the project...one must think and think. This is my dear friend, Donna, doing just that.

This is a class member who is beginning to stitch her project. We were given full reign to stitch, glue, do whatever we wanted to do. Most of us brought our own supplies but Colette also brought us some cool items. 

This is such a sweet dress. The material in the background is French print and was given us to Colette who is from Canada and is bilingual.

This is a totally different interpretation, in soft pinks.

This is a lovely set, in sepia, brown and black. 

Here's another one that uses country-like materials, just charming.

Here is one with darling images. I see an adorable Paper Whimsy girl in the middle

I believe this one was created from family photos. What a sweet looking grandmotherly woman!

Isn't this a dear piece? Such an adorable little girl!

This woman is using a lot of embroidery on her piece.

Here is mine, still in process, but almost done. The pictures are baby pictures of Kat, Jud and I. I changed the dress to knickers for Jud. If you click on this, you an see the baby pictures better. 

And this is me and the lovely Colette. Not really the best people of either of us. She is a small, pretty woman. I am the one with the craft apron by Jem and my smile is getting cheesier and cheesier. 

A lovely time was had by all. It was such a cooperative group. Everyone shared their supplies and ideas so readily. I really enjoyed it. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

But Does She Make Things?

Why, yes I do! I got two things finished at Silver Bella. Last year, I didn't get anything finished!
I will be working on the other things and show them to you soon. 
But for now... I have...

This is a collage that I made in a class taught by Lisa Kaus. We brought our own pictures. I picked mine from one of my old primers.  The little girl looked so much like Kat when she was young. Lisa was so generous about sharing her techniques. We used graphite pencils to edge things and Caron D'Ache crayons to create some cool color effects. We wired a bottle on the bottom. Mine holds glitter and is a tiny old perfume bottle.

...is my teacup fairy doll from a class taught by Beth Quinn. This was loads of fun to make. We brought our own cup. I found this beautiful boullion cup which matches nothing in my house...but hey...good art doesn't have to match your sofa, as they say.  (Just kidding!) This actually needs a little more work. Some more bling around the neck and a bit more glitter and fabric below. It will give you a general idea of the project. Beth was a generous teacher and had lots of lovely fabric for us to rip up and use. Very therapeutic to rip fabric!

I am going to be finishing the other projects soon. A couple are very close to completion. I don't know why am so slow. Do you think it because I am talking all the time? 

This weekend I will share with you some pictures of my whole class. One of my favorites...Project Runway, taught by Colette Copeland.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Silver Bella...Little Sisters

I have brothers, four to be exact. I love them all but I have always longed for a sister. I have been very lucky to have some wonderful "sisterly" relationships with friends and family. Still, I seem to embrace every opportunity to play the "sister" role. 

One of the special parts of Silver Bella is the Big/Little Sister program. I was given Julie Jones from Illinois as my Little Sister. Needless to say, I was delighted! 

One of the jobs of the Big Sister is to answer the questions (and calm the performance anxiety) of the Little Sister. The other is to send them little treats. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for little treats, given or received.  

The "sleuth" in me was determined to find out what Julie liked and what kinds of things she created. Well, I could not have been luckier. Julie was coming to Silver Bella with her real sister, Merry Gray from Missouri. I found out Merry's email on the Silver Bella blog and wrote her a letter asking about Julie. I also asked whether she had gotten her Big Sister yet. Her response, "Well, I was kind of hoping you would be my Big Sister." How could I resist? I was totally delighted to have not just one, but, two Little Sisters!!!

Julie and Merry met us soon after my roommate, Donna, and I got to Omaha and started our day by taking us out to lunch. They are the kind of people who make you feel instantly comfortable.  You can see us up at the top, Julie on my left and Merry on my right. The best was yet to come.

Silver Bella has been my birthday present for the last two years. I have also celebrated my birthday at Silver Bella for the last two years. My Little Sisters (and my wonderful roommate) made it so much fun. Every time I returned to my room, there was a surprise under my door or hanging on the doorknob. I received a beautiful German silver glittered bird (with a crown), a plaque, a note pad, darling vintage cutouts, vintage wrapping paper. All kinds of fun. The biggest thrill were the flowers above. Julie and Merry made beautiful tissue paper flowers and attached them to my door. Even the maids were delighted. I left them up the whole time. I felt so special!

The Embassy Suites are built around an open court. Merry and Julie were able to watch Donna and I as we approached the door, as they were directly across from us. I am sure they could hear our squeals, too!
Surprises are just wonderful. It continues to make me happy inside just looking at the picture of my door. 

Thank you, Julie and Merry. You were wonderful Little Sisters! I hope we keep in touch and I hope to see you again!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Silver Bella...Finding Your Art Sisters

I have been back from Silver Bella for several days and I am still exhausted! It is a magical time and so much is crammed into a few days. You will see many beautiful pictures of Silver Bella on the internet. Mine are probably not among those! I was so busy that I only had time to grab my camera or quickly hand it to the next person to take a picture. 

To me, the greatest thing about Silver Bella is the people. Our thursday night project was titled "Art Sisters." Finding those sisters is what is all about. Often it is someone with whom I have shared a "blog friendship" and can now meet in person. I was delighted to meet many people that I had communicated with during this year. Laura Kaufman of 52 Flea is one of them. She is charming and kind. I instantly liked her...just like I do on her blog! I wish I had taken a picture of Laura. Robin Thomas of A Nest With a View and I got to see each other again after becoming even better friends through our blog friendship. Robin is very real and hysterically funny. I treasure our friendship. 

Sometimes the friend is someone who 
has done a special favor. Pat May of The Whyte Paper is one of them. She created Moo-like cards for me before Silver Bella (Moo Cards are tiny little business cards that people trade). At the time of getting ready, I had simply spent too much money to consider ordering the real thing! I wrote to Pat on her Etsy site and asked her if she would create cards from a picture I had. She did...for free...and with a wonderful sense of generosity. I was delighted to meet her and her equally lovely daughter and look forward to continued friendship with her. 

Sometimes it is a friend from the year before. Denise Nelson of Pink Pomegranate, also known as Pinkie because she loves pink so much, is a friend that I met last year. She is incredibly talented and equally unassuming. You must go to her blog to see what she makes. I am now lucky enough to own one of her paper shoes and will share that soon. I hope that someday I can visit her store in California. 

Sometimes the friend is someone who just wrote one the the best on-line books you have ever seen. Do go read Amy's book if you haven't already. It is beautiful and charming, just like Amy Powers of Inspire Co. Amy has been kind and welcoming to me since I attended Silver Bella last year.

Sometimes it is a new friend who shares her knowledge, her materials and her talents openly. Peggy Lucas (Peg 'O My Heart) ended up in almost all of my classes. Many people take beautiful pictures at Silver Bella. Peggy offered her pictures to anyone who wanted to use them on their blog. To those of us who were totally overwhelmed and didn't take every picture they wished to take, that is a huge gift.

Sometimes it is a friend who you met the first time when you were only twelve! Jane Paulson went to Camp Tepeetonka with me when we were just youngsters. She looks just the same! She really does! The beautiful woman on the right is her daughter, Emily, who is uproariously funny and quite the artist, just like her mom.

Sometimes the friend is the head honcho herself, Teresa MacFayden. Teresa has been more than gracious and welcoming to me (and others). She puts together an amazing conference and still has the air of a good old "Midwestern girl." 

Sometimes the friends include a whole table. This group worked so beautifully together, sharing ideas and materials so effortlessly. It was the best of Silver Bella.

Then there is the friend at the left. That one is Donna Robinson. A true sister in every way. I do not have a picture of her alone, or a picture of Donna and I, because she was so busy pushing my wheelchair and being the "Nazi" who told me to stop when I was playing too hard. She was the one that made sure I ate well and went to bed on time. Because of her, I got through the weekend in one piece. She is a dear, dear friend and someone who is always there for me. 

Silver Bella. To me it is all about friends, finding your Art Sisters. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Silver Bella Sachets *Spoiler*

Thank you so much for your nice comments about my sachets. You know how it is when you try something new...you have that bit of insecurity and it was nice to hear your support.
Here is the next batch...

This was a hard one. This woman likes birds and collections, calligraphy and strange writing, postage stamps, and the "real thing," like mother of pearl buttons. After a lot of looking, I found this wonderful graphic (this was pure serendipity). The graphic has a heart of broken china superimposed over calligraphy (hooray!). Above the heart there is a little bird (hooray!) and a postage stamp (can you believe it?). I put five mother of pearl buttons underneath and a folded vintage hankie on the bottom because it picked up the colors...and she liked nature, too :-). 

This is for the daughter of the woman I went to camp with as a twelve year old. One of her favorite things was Jane Austin. I think I had most fun with color with this sachet. I love the pink ribbon around the picture. Kat and Jud found me a wonderful box of old lace and ribbon at an estate sale one day when I wasn't feeling so good. Talk about something that cheered me up! The ribbon around that is old velvet. Nothing like it. So much more plush than our velvet today! The lace at the bottom is old but very well-preserved. It is actually white and very delicate!

And this one is for my dear friend, Donna (who will be my roommate).  We have known each other since we were twelve but became very good friends in college. When we were in college, we fell in love with the work of an artist named Sulamith Wulfing. Her paintings are very transparent and spiritual. This one shows a young child who appears to be a young deity and is illuminated. I knew this was the one! I put some rhinestones at the top and scatted a few through the lace on the sides. The two rows of lace on the bottom are beautiful old pieces that were in the box of magic from Jud and Kat. I hope she will like it. I wonder if she will recognize the picture and painter!

This is the last. This graphic is a little hard to see but is the most incredible Art Nouveau picture of "under the sea," one of the swappee's loves. I tried to make everything "wavy" and show a lot of motion. The ribbons were from a gift from Jud years ago, the Trim and Treasure Monthly Club at Flight of Fancy Boutique. Now keep in mind, I wasn't really doing much of anything with fabric at the time. I just loved the trims because they were beautiful! Kat found me a great sequined piece to use as sort of a "treasure box" in the lower left hand corner. Well, I lost it. We all looked for it for days. I was sick. It was perfect. Finally I used a piece of gold mesh, a gold-edged shell, a rhinestone and some pearls and created my own treasure. I was pleased and forgot the other piece...which never showed up! The bottom lace snagged a lot in the washer and dryer (not nice to do with vintage lage but perfect for this one. It almost looks like netting, though it is hard to see that in the photograph).

So, that is all. My gift boxes are huge and the sachets sort of "rest" at the bottom. Somehow I still don't manage to get all my ducks in a row.  I know the swap hostess will have a huge laugh. She was the one that made the seven inch rule. If I bend over the bottom lace and trim,  they are seven inches :-) . Luckily she is a good friend! 

I will have to share my Upcycled Treasures necklace tomorrow. It is very close to done! Then, of course, I will have to share all of the fun of Silver Bella!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Silver Bella Sachet Swap *Spoiler*

On Wednesday, I fly to Omaha for Silver Bella, a wonderful creative extravaganza. I am taking part in a sachet swap in which we knew a few things about our partners and then created something that fit them. This first one is for a woman who loved old photos and anything but primary colors. Interestingly, she and I went to the same YWCA camp when we were twelve! I didn't get a very good photo...there is more vintage lace at the bottom and flowers that are similar to the second sachet at the top. The sachets are about seven inches square...that was the max and I think she was kidding!!! I found I had a hard time thinking small. I made all of the sachets from old linen napkins that I dyed. I also dyed some lace along with some of them. I used Lesley Riley's TAP for the transfers...love it. Understand that I haven't sewed on a machine since about seventh grade. I had a ways to go. I also put a little decoration on the back but I won't go that far into detail! On this one, I made a little necklace and draped it across the back. The front of the sachets are generally hand sewn or fused on. 

This is for one of our swap leaders, Susie, who loves roses. The graphic is from The Vintage Workshop.  I really had fun using my stash of good "stuff." Once I got over the hump of actually doing it, it seemed like an act of giving. The rose on the bottom is from Karen of Creative Chaos. I bought a bunch of really nice roses from her, since I don't have a huge stash of millinery flowers.

This one is for a woman who loves Oriental items. The graphic is also from The Vintage Workshop. I coffee-dyed a vintage handkerchief for the bottom and the brown ribbon surrounding the pink. It really brought out the detail in both.  I put the flower in the dye and it is still in the same family, though lighter.

This one is for our other swap hostess, Lisa, who loves birds and chocolate. The picture is of birds surrounding a cocoa pitcher. You can get a better idea of the bottom of the sachets in this picture.

I had a lot of fun doing these, even though it was a bit outside my comfort level. I will show you four more tomorrow. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Halloween Greeter...

Guess who greeted the little children at our door on Halloween? Well, it was a Punk Panda, of the female variety. Here she is! You can see the black and white part (that symbolizes the panda). What you might not be able to see as well in the panda ears. Maybe this next picture will help you!

A Punk Panda had ears of hair, black around her eyes and a little black nose. Punk Panda's may look a little frightening but actually are quite gentle and very pleasant around humans. 

P.S. Would would ever guess that she was a drama major in college?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Benefit...

Many people would confuse me for an extrovert. I am friendly (I am from South Dakota and Minnesota and we all are friendly). I love people and have always had many friends. I am not an extrovert. I need a lot of down time to recharge. Most of my interests are pretty solitary...reading and crafting are at the top. I am not a team sport person. Never have been.

Nothing makes me cringe more than the thought of a benefit. Teeming crowds of people that I don't know turns my stomach. The skill of "small talk" is something that evades me. When Jud told me that Park Nicollet Medical Foundation (his medical practice) was having it's Celebration Of Life, I cringed. 

I was crabby until he suggested that we go shopping at LaRue's. LaRue's...funky clothes for the middle-aged women. Soft flowing clothes that mask the lumps. Jewelry that I would not be able to make...YES!!!

Jud and I went together and picked out about ten outfits. I liked the first one I tried on. (Also, I didn't want to try any more on!). I am wearing it in the picture above. It is an Oriental pantsuit with an elastic waist and no need for Spanx!!! The shoulder-dusting earrings sealed the deal. Kat took the picture above. Not a bad picture for a woman who often closes her eyes. Then we realized that is didn't show the detail of the outfit, as it is asymmetrical.

Aha! Now you can get a better idea. I was throwing together the necklace and looking for a bag the hour before we left but I felt like I looked good and looked like "me". When you feel comfortable in what you are wearing, you are more comfortable with yourself. I had a nice time. My husband was very happy to have me by his side. Benefits? Still not my favorite thing...but I think I will tolerate them better. Who knows, this might be my go-to outfit for the next...ten years!